30+ Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes You'll Love (2024)

Wondering what to do with leftover cooked chicken? Here are 30+ easy recipes to inspire your next meal. Most are quick enough for weeknight dinners & use simple ingredients. And they work no matter the type of chicken you have (rotisserie, roasted, baked, boiled, pan-fried, grilled, etc.). Save this for when you need some new ideas!

One of my favorite frugal dishes is a whole, cooked chicken. Whether you roast it yourself, slow cook it in a crock-pot or opt for a rotisserie chicken from the store, it's a good deal.

Not only do you get a hearty portion of shredded or chopped meat that works in a variety of recipes, but the leftover carcass (bones + skin) makes the besthomemade chicken broth.

A quart of chicken broth from the store typically costs $3-5 a carton (depending on the region), so you're saving $6-10 every time you repurpose the bones to make your own broth. You like free food, right? I sure do. Especially when I can use it for homemade soups.

But, if you eat chicken enough, it's easy to end up in a recipe rut! It happens to all of us.

Even if you're cooking different cuts like breasts, cutlets, tenders, quarters, or thighs, instead of a whole chicken.

At some point, you'll end up with a pile of leftover cooked chicken in your fridge, wondering how to transform it into a new lunch or dinner that tastesjust as good (or even better) than the night before.

Or maybe your chicken got a little overcooked (whoops) and you want to mix it into other foods so it doesn't taste dry. This happens quite often with chicken breasts when they're not pounded flat to cook evenly.

That's where this list comes in to help! I've compiled a variety of creative (yet easy) ways to repurpose your leftover meat into a different meal, plus lots of tasty recipes to try out.

If you only need basic food ideas for using up chicken + what's on hand in your kitchen right now, check out my graphic below for inspiration.

Looking for specific chicken recipes to make? Keep scrolling for loads of good ones to try! No time to read now? Be sure to save it to Pinterest for later.

30+ Easy Recipes & Ideas For Using Up Leftover Cooked Chicken

30+ Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes You'll Love (1)

Chicken Hummus Naan Wraps(pictured above)|Once folks try this, it usually ends up in their meal rotation. Spread some hummus over chewy naan bread, top it with chopped fresh veggies, crumbled cheese, leftover chicken & a homemade vinaigrette. You'll have an easy & healthy dinner in only 15 minutes! Want something with more herbs? Make instead.

One-Pot Cajun Chicken Alfredovia No. 2 Pencil | Here's a creamy & comforting pasta dish you can fix all in one pot. I need to try this one soon! This one calls for sausage, so don't skip it if you want that extra smoky flavor.

Pesto Chicken Gnocchi Soupvia The Kitchen Girl | This super fast soup relies on prepared ingredients like cooked chicken, pesto, spinach & broth to make a yummy meal in only 15 minutes. Keep this one in your back pocket for busy nights.

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Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Garlic Drop Biscuits(pictured above) | For those times when you're craving chicken pot pie but you want a heartier filling and no crust to mess with. Use store-bought biscuits to save time, but I highly recommend the homemade drop biscuits (they're a Red Lobster copycat).

Cheesy Crustless Chicken Pot Pie Casserolevia Healthy Christian Home | If you want no crust on your pot pie with all the creamy goodness, try this gluten-free version with cheese on top instead.

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread with Baconvia Jersey Girl Cooks | This comes together super quick by using pre-cooked flatbread so all you have to do is pile on your toppings and pop it in the oven. I like to keep a package in my freezer for last-minute meals (to avoid takeout).

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Chicken Avocado Salad Sandwichvia Girl Heart Food(pictured above) | Looking for a spin on the classic chicken salad sandwich? Try this version with creamy avocado & chopped mango instead. It's savory with a bit of sweetness & sure to hit the spot for lunch or dinner.

Chunky Chicken Saladvia An Alli Event| This simple chicken salad has a bit of sweetness & crunch from apples & walnuts and can be made ahead of time for meal prep or to feed a crowd. Serve it on croissants or your favorite bread for an easy no-cook meal.

If you're looking for versions of cold chicken salad with slightly different ingredients, try thisGreek Chicken SaladfromThe Pinning Mama(it's so good - I've made it loads of times) and thisCranberry Crunch Chicken Salad(with Greek yogurt & sunflower seeds) fromA Toasted Crumb.

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup (with Tortilla Chips) | This easy soup only takes 15 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to cook on the stovetop. It uses shredded rotisserie chicken to save time and store-bought tortilla chips as a topper so no need to fry up fresh ones for topping. It also freezes well for leftovers.

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Creamy White Chicken Chili(pictured above)| Tired of beef chili? Try this cozy white chicken chili instead. It's packed with hearty ingredients like white beans, carrots, sweet bell pepper & green chiles in a savory broth. Add cubed cream cheese at the end to make it creamy or leave it out to save some calories.

Harvest White Bean Chicken Chili | If you're craving white chicken chili but want something lighter & healthier (i.e. not creamy), try this version packed with late summer & early fall veggies. Pair it with tortilla chips or cornbread for a hearty meal that'll keep you warm.

Chicken Nachos with Mango Avocado Salsa | Baked nachos are one of my favorite quick & easy dinners when I have leftover protein on hand + some shredded cheese & salsa. This uses homemade mango avocado salsa (so good) but you can easily sub your favorite jar of red or green salsa (fire-roasted is my favorite).

Cajun Chicken Spaghetti Squash Boatsvia The Jam Jar Kitchen| This is a low-carb spin on The Pioneer Woman's Cajun Chicken Pasta, so you know it's going to be good! It's saucy, cheesy & packed with flavor, yet is keto since the "noodles" come from vitamin-packed spaghetti squash instead.

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Creamy White Chicken Enchiladasvia Play Party Plan(pictured above)| If you love cheesy baked enchiladas but have picky eaters in your family, try this version with a creamy white sauce instead.

If you can handle some spice (the more the merrier for me), fix theseEasy Chicken Enchiladas with Red SaucefromMuy Bueno Cookbook.Need a low-carb version? Try theseKeto Salsa Verde Chicken EnchiladasfromEat Beautifulinstead.

Easy Chicken Biryanivia Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy | Love chicken & rice dishes? Try this easy biryani with onion, ginger, garlic, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, and basmati rice + a few other simple ingredients.

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Mediterranean Salad with Chicken(pictured above)| If you're looking for something fresh & healthy but packed with flavor, prep this salad in about 15 minutes withleafy greens, crumbled feta, canned chickpeas, briny olives, fresh chopped veggies, and cooked chicken + a quick homemade red wine vinaigrette.

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad |Craving a hearty salad that's packed with protein? Fix this quick & easy buffalo chicken cobb salad. It's layered with crisp lettuce, tender chicken, tangy buffalo sauce, crumbled blue cheese, creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumber, salty bacon, and more!

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwichvia Slow The Cook Down| Make these quick & easy sandwiches when you're craving all the spicy + cool flavors of buffalo wings without all the work.

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Greek Spring Soupvia What a Girl Eats(pictured above)| This is a heartier version of Greek avgolemono soup (chicken soup with egg & lemon) with tender spring-time vegetables added to stretch it further. Fix it when you want something warm, comforting & healthy. Prefer the traditional version? Try this Greek Lemon Chicken Soup from The Mediterranean Dish.

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppersvia Kinda Healthy Recipes| Make this if you're craving buffalo sandwiches but want a low-carb version with more veggies. You can prep it in about 5 minutes then pop it in the oven to bake.

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Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini Casserolevia Aimee Mars Living(pictured above)| A cozy baked casserole with chicken, egg noodles, mushroom, white cheddar cheese, and a breadcrumb topping. The creamy sauce comes from a simple mixture of butter, flour, broth, sour cream & milk (no canned cream of soups). Need a gluten-free version? Fix thisEasy Gluten-Free Chicken TetrazzinifromFearless Dininginstead.

10-Minute Gluten-Free Chicken Fried Ricevia The Helpful GF| This fast & easy meal is a good way to use up leftover veggies and protein in your fridge. To make it go even faster, use pre-cooked rice (or those parboiled microwavable packages) and frozen mixed veggies.

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Baked Chicken Tacosvia Little Sunny Kitchen(pictured above)| Skip the Taco Bell line and make these crispy chicken tacos in under 30 minutes. They're loaded with refried beans, rotisserie chicken, cheese, salsa & all the toppings your taco-loving heart desires.

Quick Rotisserie Chicken Tacos with Smashed Avocadovia Two Healthy Kitchens | These easy tacos use soft corn tortillas & rotisserie chicken as the main ingredients but pile on simple, flavorful toppings like mashed avocado, pickled red onions, salsa verde, and cotija cheese. Yummmm!

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Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bakevia Supergolden Bakes(pictured above)| A hearty baked casserole packed with chicken, bacon, sweet corn, and pasta all mixed into a creamy cheese sauce. This has "family-friendly" & "potluck dinner" written all over it.

Leftover Chicken Taco Soupvia Mashup Mom| This is one of those cheap & easy soups that everyone loves. Even better, it uses several pantry ingredients (beans, tomatoes, corn, broth, etc,) so you can make it on the fly. Save even more money by mixing together your ownhomemade taco seasoningfrom dry spices in your kitchen.

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Spicy Chicken Ramenvia Went Here 8 This(pictured above)| For those times when you have leftover chicken + a package of ramen noodles and want to turn it into a heartier meal in about 20 minutes. Keep the toppings minimal or make it a bit fancier by including cooked eggs (ramen, soft, hard, poached, fried).

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette | Fix this quick & easy salad when fresh strawberries are in season for a light, yet satisfying lunch or dinner. It's topped with an addicting maple balsamic vinaigrette that you'll want to make on repeat.

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Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup(pictured above)| I like to buy a whole rotisserie chicken just for this recipe, but you can use any shredded or cooked chicken you have on hand. Make this when you want a hearty, stick to your ribs soup to satisfying a comfort food craving.

Chicken Pasta Bakevia Beyond The Chicken Coop| Here's another comforting baked pasta your whole family will love. This one uses penne pasta, canned tomatoes, and a cheese sauce made from oil, flour, & milk, some simple spices, and a good helping of Monterey Jack + Parmesan cheese.Mmmmm.

30+ Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes You'll Love (13)

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup with Ricevia My Sequined Life(pictured above)| If you enjoy brothy, tomato-based soups with plenty of flavor from spices like chili powder, cumin & oregano, this recipe is for you. This one has long-grain brown rice & baked tortilla strips to make it heartier.

Thai Red Curry Chicken Soupvia The Food Blog | This cozy & flavor-packed soup comes together quickly by using jarred Thai red curry paste (easy to find in most grocery stores), cooked chicken, fresh ginger + garlic, lime juice, canned coconut milk & rice noodles. Make this to save money on takeout!

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Sweet and Spicy Chicken Slidersvia Belly Full(pictured above)| These chicken sliders are made with simple sweet & spicy ingredients piled onto soft Hawaiian rolls for a low effort (but yummy) appetizer, lunch, or dinner.

5-Ingredient Chicken Tortilla Casserole via Mighty Mrs | Here's an easy casserole you can fix with simple ingredients that mimic chicken tortilla soup (although there are no actual tortillas involved). Use par-boiled microwavable rice (or one mixed with beans or other grains) to save time on prep.

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Cold Chicken Pasta Saladvia Carmy - Run Eat Travel(pictured above)| If you want to use your leftover chicken to meal prep meals for later in the week, fix this pasta salad today and pop it in the fridge for later. I love a good no-cook meal, don't you? Especially once the weather starts to warm up.

Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Poblano Peppers via Butter Your Biscuit | If you enjoy stuffed bell peppers, chile Rellenos, or jalapeno poppers, give these chicken & cheese stuffed poblano peppers a try. This is my favorite chile to use in many recipes. It has a lovely flavor, which is milder than a jalapeno.

Did I miss any of your favorites? Leave a comment below with your go-to meals for using leftover cooked chicken.

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30+ Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes You'll Love (16)

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30+ Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes You'll Love (2024)


30+ Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes You'll Love? ›

A hearty marinara or rich Alfredo sauce will work wonders at restoring moisture and adding flavor to a parched piece of chicken. Substitute rice for pasta to create a teriyaki chicken dish or creamy chicken risotto. When life gives you dry chicken, make chicken salad.

What can you do with dry leftover chicken? ›

A hearty marinara or rich Alfredo sauce will work wonders at restoring moisture and adding flavor to a parched piece of chicken. Substitute rice for pasta to create a teriyaki chicken dish or creamy chicken risotto. When life gives you dry chicken, make chicken salad.

How to make leftover chicken breast juicy? ›

✨Stovetop Method✨ Add a skillet over medium heat and cover the bottom with either water or chicken broth (I prefer chicken broth for more flavor). Add the chicken on top of the broth and cover with the skillet lid. Cook for about 6-7 minutes or until the internal temp is 165F.

How long is chicken good for as a leftover? ›

USDA recommends using cooked chicken within three to four days, kept refrigerated (40°F or less). Refrigeration slows but does not stop bacterial growth. USDA recommends using cooked leftovers within three to four days.

How to make day old chicken juicy? ›

You can do this by marinating the cooked chicken in a sauce or broth for a while. This can help rehydrate the meat and add some flavor. Just be careful not to over-marinate, as the chicken could become mushy. Steam: Reheating the chicken with steam can help add moisture back into t.

How good is leftover chicken good for? ›

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) recommendations, leftover cooked chicken should be refrigerated at 40 F (or less) and used within 3 to 4 days. The USDA notes that while refrigeration slows bacterial growth, it does not stop it.

How to make crispy leftover chicken? ›

To reheat fried chicken in the oven, the best method is to turn the oven on high and bake it fast. Preheat the oven to 400°F, and place room-temperature leftovers on a wire rack set on a baking sheet. The wire rack helps hot air circulate to crisp up the underside of the chicken.

How do you make reheated chicken taste better? ›

Just because the chicken is already cooked doesn't mean it can't benefit from a rub. Before reheating, make a custom blend of your favorite spices like paprika, cayenne, onion or garlic powder. Mix in dried herbs or a bit of sugar for beautiful caramelization, then sprinkle it evenly over the skin.

How do you add flavor to leftover chicken? ›

How To Season Already Cooked Chicken
  1. Use A Flavorful Sauce. One of the easiest ways to add flavor to already cooked chicken is by using a flavorful sauce. ...
  2. Try Different Seasonings. ...
  3. Add Fresh Herbs. ...
  4. Incorporate Citrus Zest. ...
  5. Use A Flavor Infused Oil. ...
  6. Make It Spicy.
Feb 13, 2024

Is 2 year old frozen chicken still good? ›

How long can you store chicken in your freezer? According to the USDA, frozen chicken will be "safe indefinitely" as long as you keep it continuously frozen (i.e., you're not unfreezing it and then re-freezing it because you didn't have a chance to cook or eat it).

Can I eat 10 day old chicken? ›

Raw chicken lasts in the fridge for 1–2 days, while cooked chicken lasts 3–4 days. To detect if chicken has gone bad, check the “best if used by” date and look for signs of spoilage like changes in smell, texture, and color. Avoid eating spoiled chicken, as it can cause food poisoning — even if you cook it thoroughly.

Can you freeze cooked chicken after 3 days? ›

It's not advised to freeze cooked chicken after four days in the fridge due to possible bacteria growth. Why can't you freeze chicken hot? Hot chicken may lead to temperature changes in your freezer, which could lead to the growth of harmful bacteria. Let the chicken cool to room temperature before freezing.

What can I use to moisten chicken? ›

Don't settle for dry, boring chicken breasts. One simple ingredient will add flavor and keep them from drying out every time: mayo. You read that correctly, mayonnaise isn't just for sandwiches and macaroni salads. Oh no, it's great for ensuring juicy, tender chicken too.

What makes chicken soft and juicy? ›

Brine. Like a marinade, a brine helps chicken breast soak up as much moisture as possible before cooking. It only requires three ingredients: water, salt, and a pinch of sugar.

Why is leftover chicken dry? ›

When you cook chicken at a high temperature, the muscle fibers of the chicken contract rapidly, causing moisture loss. However, if you cook your chicken too low and slow, the fibers will break down, resulting in a mushy, dry texture.

How do you rehydrate dehydrated chicken? ›

Re-hydrate food fastest with boiling water

Re-hydrating food goes fastest in boiling water. Place your dehydrated vegetables and meats in your cooking pot, add enough water to completely cover the food, then bring the water to a boil. Keep adding water as necessary to keep the food covered.

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